It must be something in the water pitchers most judges have at the bench. East Texas Judge Randall Rogers pulled a modern-day shotgun wedding by making a man marry his 19-year-old girlfriend. He also had to write Bible verses, similar to a naughty child writing sentences on the chalkboard (think The Simpsons, for those to young to remember when this was an actual punishment). It’s been a summer of judges gone wild!
Josten Bundy punched his girlfriend’s ex in the jaw twice after then man said disparaging things about her. While the ex-beau didn’t need medical attention, he did press assault charges. Judge Rogers asked Bundy if Elizabeth Jaynes (the girlfriend) was worth it. Things took a turn for the WTH!? a moment after Bundy replied in the affirmative.
That’s when Rogers gave Bundy a choice: marry Jaynes in the next 30 days or go to jail for 15 days. Bundy opted for jail, but wanted to call his boss first, a request the judge denied. So, Bundy and Jaynes applied for a marriage license and set a date with the justice of the peace. One must wonder why Bundy didn’t have Jaynes call his boss…
Jaynes told KLTV that, “It just felt like we weren’t going to be able to have the wedding we wanted. It was just going to be kind of pieced together, I didn’t even have a white dress.”
Bundy’s comment was equally, um, romantic: “We were strung over each other and really were in love. I would have worn a black tux with some yellow under it because I’m a Steelers fan.” The couple tied the knot at the courthouse shortly after and plans to have their dream wedding at a later date when they have more money and more time to plan.
“To say you’re not going to be criminally punished if you get married is way out of left field. It sounds like the old days of shotgun weddings, but not even the judge is capable of enforcing, what he thinks is best for some people in his court,” said lawyer Blake Bailey in an interview with KLTV. Bailey, a constitutional law attorney, confirmed that Rogers overstepped his bounds and that it is, in fact, illegal to force people to get married.
This is the latest in the summer of judges gone wild. In June, Michigan Judge Lisa Gorcyca sentenced three children to a juvenile detention center (known by locals as being as dangerous as an adult prison) because they refused to have lunch with their father. The father was accused of being abusive to the mother during a long, drawn out divorce case. The sentence had no end date; rather, the children were to stay locked up until they either agreed to have a relationship with their father or turned 18. Judge Gorcyca relented and released the trio after two weeks.
If this keeps happening, I’m going to start a website featuring transcripts from these and other ridiculous abuses of power. It worked for the guy who filmed drunken college kids, why not give it a go with power-drunk judges?